Howto Ubuntu 12.04 Open Source Radeon Drivers and Power Management

/Camp — Free classes on all things Web in the Scottsdale, Arizona area (Ad)


You can check out my hardware profile here…

Okay, I’m not sure if I am like the rest of you, but sometimes I feel like giving up on Linux. Yesterday it was because I couldn’t get full screen video to play without being choppy and slow. Not to mention using Unity (which I like) in 3D with the fglrx proprietary drivers made my desktop choppy and slow as well.

Well, after telling myself, “Dammit! I hate having to go back to Windowz!” I did what a true Linux-er would do and started Googleing my way out of the problem. I landed on a page where a user said he preffered the open source Radeon driver over the fglrx drivers, and I thought, “what the hell.”

Installing the Driver/Removing fglrx

So, I finally found my way to this page, which gave a great how-to on removing the old fglrx drivers fully and installing the new open source Radeon drivers.

sudo apt-get remove --purge xorg-driver-fglrx fglrx*  
sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri fglrx-modaliases  
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

sudo apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg-core

Do a restart and notice how fast everything is! At least it was for me. Video could run full screen at 1080HD on my HD TV, YouTube the same and my UI was also faster and snappier!

Power Management

So, once I got this done I noticed my laptop getting hot and the fan acting like there was a fire nearby! So, I went, again, Googling for my solution.

I reached this page and found out that there is power management built into the driver, but they aren’t enabled by default.

I enabled the profile and auto power options in the terminal, on the fly, by:

echo profile > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
echo mid > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

Startup

So these changes do not stick around the next time you restart your computer or wake it from sleep mode. So, I ran into this page and found out how to make these changes stick:

Step 1: Create hook:

gksudo gedit /usr/lib/pm-utils/power.d/radeon-power_profile

Step 2: Fill file with in the desired setting:

#!/bin/sh

echo profile > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
echo auto > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

exit 0

Step 3: Make it executable:

sudo chmod +x /usr/lib/pm-utils/power.d/radeon-power_profile

And now my laptop is not running as hot and the fan is not mondo-hyper all the time. And…. it performs, visually, at least as well as when I was on Windowz. Is that so much to ask for?